Alabama Contemplates Legislation to Make Absentee Voting a Criminal Offense

LOUDON, NEW HAMPSHIRE- JANUARY 23: A Voter fills out their ballots on January 23, 2024 in Loudon, New Hampshire. With Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dropping out of the race two days earlier, Republican presidential candidates former President Donald Trump and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley are battling it out in this first-in-the-nation primary.

Alabama is currently reviewing legislation that could potentially impose stricter regulations on casting absentee ballots. On Wednesday, SB1 was approved by a state senate committee with a vote of 7 to 3. The bill is sponsored by State Senator Garlan Gudger, a Republican from Cullman.

If the legislation is approved, it will become unlawful to order, request, pre-fill, obtain, or deliver an absentee ballot application. Additionally, applicants will be required to submit their own applications, and violations of these requirements will be subject to criminal penalties.

Violators of the measure may face charges for a misdemeanor crime, while those who accept payment for such actions could be convicted of a class C felony. A third party who engages in such actions could face severe consequences, including a lengthy prison sentence of up to 10 years and a serious felony charge.

Engaging in the act of paying a third party to submit an absentee ballot can result in a serious class B felony charge, carrying a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years.

However, voters who require assistance with their ballots have the option to seek help from a family member, someone residing in their household, the Secretary of State’s office, a local judge, or an elections manager.

There are additional exemptions for individuals who are visually impaired, have disabilities, or face challenges with reading or writing. The legislation would not affect military personnel stationed overseas.

Exchanging Money During Ballot Handling Illegal, ACLU Opposes Bill

A ballot drop box for voted mail ballots is displayed in a Clark County vote center on Election Day during the Nevada 2024 presidential primary election in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 6, 2024.


According to the Alabama Reflector, Mr. Gudger informed reporters that it is against the law for individuals to exchange money while handling ballots or submitting applications. “This is not the ballot.” Here is the ballot application. The bill has faced strong opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union.

“This bill hinders the efforts of various organizations that serve seniors, students, or homebound individuals in their mission to guarantee and enhance access to voting,” stated the civil rights organization.

“Limiting participation for Alabama’s most vulnerable citizens, criminalizing assistance that provides access to the voting process to others.” If signed into law by Alabama Republican Governor Kay Ivey, the bill would take effect immediately.

It is the most recent action in a series of measures taken by Republicans to limit voting access. According to the Brennan Center, an organization that monitors legislation, at least 32 states proposed new laws last year that aimed to impose restrictions on voting. 

These laws sought to limit voter registration, voter roll maintenance, and voting methods in comparison to the existing state regulations.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.